Monday, July 14, 2008

Can we really make a difference?

A recent comment on a journal near and dear to my heart read:

"...a major flaw in Obama's script: no new oil drilling here at home, status quo on ethanol, status quo on gas taxes, and no new nucleur (sp) power."

I have a major problem with coastal drilling unless the companies can prove that the drilling will not adversely affect the environment. We have devastated our coasts by destroying the natural barriers that protect the mainland, killing the wildlife and marine life that sustains the delicate balance of the ecosystem in our oceans. To ignore such an impact and the eventual consequences upon our entire ecosystem is short-sighted and ignorant.

While ethanol is a boon in some ways to the states and farmers that are major corn producers (such as Indiana and its farmers), the bottom line is that it is a flawed technology, dependent upon weather (corn production in Indiana is way down due to the recent floods, as in Iowa and other midwestern states) and crop production. The demand for ethanol has driven food prices through the roof, everything from meat, eggs, milk, and any other commodity that relies upon grain as feed, or anything that uses corn fructose as a sweetener, which is almost everything. This isn't felt just in our local grocery store, this is felt around the world, including countries that rely upon grains shipped from our country and others. The rising price of food means that we can't afford to buy everything we used to buy at the store...but for some families in other countries, it means that they are unable to afford to buy enough food to feed their family. Our rising demand for ethanol reduces the amount of corn and other sources of biofuels from the global food chain, resulting in more starvation, more deprivation, more deaths from malnutrition, and more suffering. Ethanol also is less fuel-efficient than gasoline, resulting in fewer miles per gallon, and it is NOT a permanent solution to oil consumption and dependence upon foreign suppliers.

A moratorium on gas taxes is also flawed, and does not work. The profit margin at the state and station level is minimal, and any relief that comes about by suspending the gas tax will be immediately offset by the oil companies raising the prices to our local stations, who will, in turn, immediately raise the price of gas. No gain, no relief, no mitigation in prices, no succor to the masses. A suspension of gas taxes will result in nothing more than exactly the same prices we are seeing at the gas pumps, and an even higher profit going to the gas companies.

Obama has never said that he will not support new nuclear plants or nuclear power in general, and in fact has said that he is open to expanding such technologies.

While I know that things are rough for so many, I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is a GLOBAL ECONOMY now, and things that we do as a country affect people far removed from us in so many ways, more than we may realize at the moment. We can no longer afford to think that we are a vast island unto ourselves, and we cannot continue to think just locally. Our manufacturing, our education, our health care, every aspect of our lives...we are all part of the vast, worldwide economy. Our actions at the local level have an impact on our environment, our energy usage affects the environment, our lifestyle affects the environment....and it all affects the things we deal with at home, our economic woes, our ability to compete with the rest of the world, and how we respond to disasters here at home and abroad.

Ah, Jesus, I know I'm sounding preachy, and I don't want to be that way. But if you've been reading me for a while, you know that I'm a big believer in that we reap what we sow...that for every action there is a reaction...that it is OUR responsibility as human beings to protect and respect what we have and to care for others who are less fortunate. I am having a dark night of the soul, and when I read isolationist and short-sighted remarks, it makes me feel such despair. I think of my Dad and his three brothers who enlisted during World War II and served to protect not only our country but others as well. As I think about it, they sort of helped to save the world, didn't they?

On these nights that I ponder our place in the world, and what will become of us, I wonder if we're up to the challenge. I wonder if we have the fortitude to save the world the way my Dad and his generation did. I wonder if we have the courage to save our OWN country, let alone the rest of the world. I have serious doubts that we are up to the task, but I still want to believe the best of people and the best of my fellow Americans, as well as our compadres (and yeah...I used a Spanish what?) around the world.

I really don't care if you call me naive and think that it's foolish of me to hope that there might be a change. I still want to believe that it can happen, and I take serious umbrage with those who think that it is not possible that the actions of a few, or of a nation, or even of the individual, can make a difference.

I think it can.



frankandmary said...

In an email you mentioned being naive about certain things(or appearing that way) & I don't find you to be that way at all. Hopeful, at least more Hopeful than I am at times. I might not always be hopeful, but it is surely the better way to go. As I told you, I get my cynic thing on, based on some of what I see in just every day life. & evolution is plenty fatalistic. ~Mary

chat2missie said...

I agree with you on off shore drilling, but we must find a way to support ourselves as a country rather than relying on other countries for things like oil.   Hope you're having a good day today.

buckoclown said...

America is a country of extremes.  My personal opinion is that we have not hit rock bottom yet, and therefore, things will get worse before the American "kick-ass" attitude takes place, and we rush off to fix things.  A lot like an amusement park, and right now we are all on the rollercoaster :o)

eml625 said...

Although I don't agree with some of your politics (THERE I said it !!! LOL)
THIS I agree with !
You make a lot of valid points here. Very good entry Beth.

markonit said...

... I have these moments as well ... but I have decided recently to have less of them, by believing in the chaos theory of my social engagement with the world ...

... when I talk with a younger person or just when ever someone asks my opinion or advice I give it with the hope it makes then a better, more thoughtful and MORE ENGAGED person ... and that maybe they will be able to move someone who it turns reaches out to another ...

... I have too big a light in my heart to allow for the gloom and despair that comes when I look beyond my environment ... what good does it do to worry for the health of the natural world, when I don't seperate my recyclables?  Or bother to vote for a leader who is wise enough to make sound choices?

... for some reason, I think that is best ... to do all that I can reasonably do ... if things hurt or complicate my life, then it is because it is unreasonable ... but I want to think that I understand, otherwise, I have been typing just to kill time ..!(j/k)) :o)